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France Debates Comprehensive Immigration Bill: Balancing Skilled Workers and Stricter Regulations

France is currently in the midst of significant debates in the Senate surrounding a comprehensive immigration bill consisting of approximately 27 provisions. The proposed legislation aims to address a dual objective: attracting skilled workers to sectors facing labor shortages while simultaneously introducing stricter regulations on asylum seekers and tightening benefits for this category.

France Debates Comprehensive Immigration Bill: Balancing Skilled Workers and Stricter Regulations

1. Regularisation of Skilled Workers:

  • Skilled foreign workers entering France irregularly may be eligible for a renewable one-year residence permit if their expertise aligns with sectors experiencing labor shortages.

  • Applicants must demonstrate a continuous and lawful presence in the country for at least three years.


2. Immediate Work for Certain Asylum Seekers:

  • Asylum seekers from high-risk countries may gain the right to work immediately upon their arrival in France and subsequent presentation at the French asylum office (OFPRA).

  • This measure aims to cater to the specific needs of asylum seekers, potentially impacting individuals from countries like Afghanistan.


3. Facilitated Deportation Procedures:

  • Individuals convicted of acts punishable by at least ten years of imprisonment could face deportation from France.

  • The legislation seeks to eliminate certain protected categories shielding individuals from deportation notices.


4. Obligation for Countries of Origin:

  • Development aid may be established for countries facing challenges in issuing consular passes for deported individuals.

  • The responsibility for issuing necessary documents for deportation would rest with the country of origin.


5. Withdrawal of Residence Permits:

  • The bill introduces the possibility of refusing, withdrawing, or not renewing specific residence permits for non-compliance with fundamental principles.

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6. Language Requirements:

  • Candidates for multi-year residence permits may need to demonstrate a minimal level of proficiency in the French language.

  • This requirement aims to enhance integration and understanding of French culture and history.


7. Abolishing State Medical Aid for Migrants:

  • State medical aid (AME) for migrants may be transformed into "emergency medical aid" with stricter eligibility criteria.

  • The goal is to reduce costs and address concerns related to irregular migration by implementing more stringent conditions.


8. Higher Fines for Employers:

  • The legislation suggests higher fines, potentially reaching up to €4,000, for employers hiring undocumented workers.

  • Repeat offenses within a two-year period could lead to doubled fines.


9. Tightening Family Reunification Rules:

  • Stricter criteria may be introduced for family reunification, including a requirement for individuals to have resided in France for at least 24 months.

  • Additional criteria, such as income requirements and health insurance membership, may be instituted.


These provisions reflect the French government's intricate attempt to strike a balance between attracting skilled workers and addressing concerns related to undocumented migration, deportation procedures, and benefits for migrants. The Senate will engage in further deliberations and voting on these measures in the upcoming weeks, with the potential for amendments and adjustments based on ongoing discussions.

By fLEXI tEAM

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